Lifting the Cup

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:25-26

In the key Scripture for this collection, we hear that the Psalmist will lift the cup of Salvation as an expression of gratitude for blessings from God.

That image reminded me of the first time I led a Love Feast at our church family camping outing.

It was Sunday morning, and we were grubby and tired.

It took a while to gather all the kids (and adults!) for the worship service that would close our weekend.

Our pastor visited the day before, but no one thought to bring “official” communion elements – so he prayed over a couple of juice pouches and a handful of hamburger buns.

But remarkably – when the time came to have the simple laity-led form of the Lord’s Supper – as I talked about these everyday items being “set aside” and becoming more than they were before – all the fidgeting stopped.

It was one of the most meaningful worship experiences I have ever had.

After worship closed, the kids joined me in returning the elements to the Earth and the birds.

None of the poking and pushing from earlier, they too were transformed.

Prayer: Father God, help me to remember that I have also been consecrated. Like the buns and juice, I am transformed. Remind me and use me. Amen.

Jack Kincaid, Canmore, Alberta


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

Sacrifice and Thankfulness

Scripture: Psalm 116:8

The writer of Psalm 116 is recovering from illness and is so grateful to God he asks, “What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?”

Have you ever had somebody bail you out of a bad situation, and you have no idea how to repay that gift?

The Psalmist offered this song of thanksgiving and concluded the repayment would be devotion and faithfulness.

They promise to work together with God’s people in worship and service.

God has blessed me in so many ways.

I have a wonderful family who loves me more than I love myself.

I have a supportive church family.

I have had many meaningful jobs.

I, like the Psalmist, recovered from pretty severe illness and am in reasonably good health.

So, what shall I return to the Lord?

I have no riches to give, and the Lord does not need my riches anyway.

I can only give what the Psalmist recommends – devotion, faithfulness, and a desire to work with all God’s people to bring about God’s dream – for all the people of the Earth to know of His goodness and mercy.

Prayer: Lord, so often, I think of sacrifice as a negative thing. Help me see any sacrifice I make to further your kingdom is an expression of thankfulness to you for all my many blessings. Amen. 

Chris Howell, Lynchburg, VA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

What Cup Will You Drink?

Scripture: Matthew 20:20-22a

Growing up in a home where food was always available, we often had choices about both food and drinks.

It wasn’t easy to comprehend how some of our neighbors lived much more sparsely.

As a high school student, I joined a group that traveled to the barrio south of our school to tutor grade school students.

There, I first met young children whose basic daily food came from school.

I listened as Mario told me he sometimes couldn’t pay attention in class in the morning because he hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before.

One day he explained, “Mama gives me warm water or tea before I get on the bus. I try to take home the milk from lunch so I can drink it before I go to bed at night.”

I could not imagine how he could be grateful for such a little bit of nourishment until I realized he sometimes had no other food or drink!

When the Psalmist asks, “what shall I return to the Lord for all (God’s) bounty to me?” I wonder if the cup of Salvation might look more like a half- pint of milk?

Prayer: Lord, in these Lenten days, help us choose well the cup we are willing to drink. Strengthen us to recognize and receive your gift of Salvation, even when it comes through a cup of suffering. Amen.

Linda McKiernan-Allen, Indianapolis, IN


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

The Little Wooden Cup with Enormous Meaning

Scripture: Titus 2:11

Family heirlooms and meaningful gifts stay in a cabinet in our home.

Each item brings feelings of contentment: connection to family or fond memories of people and events surrounding the gifts.

One thing stands out atop the cabinet: the small, simple, wooden communion cup from the Holy Land given to me by my former pastor.

This cup was made from wood near the River Jordan, where Jesus was baptized and then began His ministry.

What that little wooden cup symbolizes, however, brings more than contentment.

It represents the great mystery of faith, often recited before receiving Communion in our church: Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.

It represents the Cup of Salvation: the cup of thanksgiving, forgiveness, all of God’s blessings.

With its imperfections in the wood, that cup exemplifies how our transgressions also mar us as human beings.

What goes into our cup of Salvation, the blood of Christ given for all is pure.

In thankfully taking the cup, we receive forgiveness and all the blessings of God: most significantly, the greatest gift of life eternal.

The little wooden cup was meaningful because of its place of origin and who gave it to me.

But partaking in the cup symbolizes the unmatchable gift of forgiveness and blessing poured out for me through Jesus’ sacrifice.

Prayer: Merciful Father, we humbly thank you for Jesus, who through his
suffering, death, and resurrection, gave us the greatest gift: Salvation. Amen.

Julie Erickson, Olathe, KS


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

A Double Draught in the Cup of Judgment

Scripture: Revelation 18:6

The theme of “The Cup of Salvation” brings to mind other cups in the Bible, like the cup of judgment in Revelation 18:6.

The Book of Revelation interprets the Roman Empire as the antithesis of the Realm of God.

In Revelation 18:1-24, God condemns Rome for idolatry and injustice, such as the wealthy feasting and ruling by violence while others struggle against hunger and persecution.

However, the Roman Empire, and its way of life, would be destroyed by the same means it used to rule.

Injustice would cause it to collapse.

Violence will consume Rome, but the passage offers a way forward.

“Come out of Rome!” (Revelation 18:4).

That is, “Turn away from idolatry, live in covenant, and provide food and opportunity for all.”

This Lent, we can consider how similar today’s world is to Rome.

According to Revelation, idolatry, exploitation, and violence set in motion patterns of decay that eventually cause social collapse.

But it is not too late.

We can heed God’s call:

“Come out of the values and practices of today’s empire. Feed hungry people. Live in peace. Create opportunity.”

Prayer: God, help us confess the ways we support empire in our time. Help us find the courage to say “Yes” to your invitation to “Come out!” Amen.

Ronald Allen, Indianapolis, IN


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

My Cup of Tea

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

We use the phrase “my cup of tea” to say we are pleased with something that seems just right.

I believe the cup of Salvation is rooted in “T” for thanksgiving.

We are told to give thanks not FOR all things, but IN all things.

Many years ago, in a single month, my mother died; I hospitalized my father; and my husband of 16 years left me for another woman.

Thirty years later, in 4 months, my house burned down; my second husband was diagnosed with cancer – all the day before our daughter’s wedding.

I felt like a modern-day Job!

The only thing that kept me going was the sure and certain hope that God was in the midst of it with me.

All I had to do was give thanks for the presence of Jesus walking with me every step of the way.

Hindsight is usually 20/20, and many things have happened since then.

Things that seemed like tragedy turned into triumph, what seemed terrible, turned into good!

My cup of tea had a bitter taste of tragedy but became an overwhelming taste of triumph and thanksgiving!

During the challenges and changes in our lives, we must hold on to our faith.

We must remember the cup of Salvation and saving grace is ours and give thanks.

Prayer: Lord, help me to remember to praise you and give thanks in all things. Amen.

Kathleen Vermillion Price, Williamsburg, VA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

Cup of Blessing

Scripture: Matthew 5:6

We accepted it academically.

We believed it conceptually.

Now we know it personally: the Triune God cannot be bound by time, space, or place.

This understanding is one of the blessings Christ’s church has received from the horrible virus, COVID-19.

Sitting at my dining room table, leading worship, and officiating the Lord’s Supper on Zoom feels different from standing physically at the Communion Table before the people of God.

Yet, the bread and wine are no less valuable for those worshiping and communing at home.

God works through the elements, regardless of time, space, or place.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, he does good work within us and through us.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

– Matthew 5:6

Do I prefer in-person worship? Of course.

But the Lord keeps reminding me that this virus does not separate us from God’s love.

This virus allows us to show hospitality in new ways and show how we take joy in protecting the “least” among us as God’s people.

We still are blessed to be a blessing.

We still are the body of Christ, empowered as we faithfully move beyond the walls of our church buildings to seek and promote righteousness, exhibiting the kingdom of heaven to the world.

Prayer: Dearest Lord, thank you for giving your life – the ultimate sacrifice – so we might have hope. Help us share your eternal kingdom of love and grace here on Earth with the lost and lonely. Amen.

Katy Yates Brungraber, Chambersburg, PA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

What Shall I Render?

Scripture: Psalm 116:12

In Psalm 116, we read that God delivered the Psalmist from all kinds of trials and tribulations: from his spiritual struggles to near-death experiences.

The Psalmist responds to this loving deliverance from God in verse 12, “What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?”

He demonstrates his love by lifting the cup of Salvation in gratitude for all God has done.

What about me? How can I respond to the goodness God has shown me?

As I journey through this season of Lent and reflect on what Jesus did for me and the price he paid, I am mindful of what Paul says in Philippians 2, “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God … emptied himself and humbled himself even to death on a cross.”

He did that for each of us. What can I possibly give in return?

Trials filled this past year. The pandemic, loss of loved ones, financial hardship, and natural disasters, to name a few.

God’s help sustained me and helped me endure.

Like the Psalmist, I gratefully lifted up the cup of Salvation in thanksgiving to God.

I desire to give my whole life – with all my being, to serve him with thanksgiving and praise.

Prayer: God of the Universe, you have offered us the cup of Salvation. We accept this cup, knowing you gave yourself freely and love us. We are deeply grateful. Amen. 

Deb Broadwater, Moneta, VA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

The Sheer Silence of God

Scripture: 1 Kings 19:11-12

As we journey through the seasons of our lives, we increasingly find ourselves bound up, not necessarily by the need for action but rather by the presence of noise.

Through the ever-present cacophony of our daily existence, we hear calls demanding much from us: our time, our effort; our attention; our energy.

Often, the noise is so overwhelming it robs us of one crucial thing: our sense of peace.

The season of Lent is no exception, and despite the best of efforts, many have a tough time finding the peace they seek.

Indeed, Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and – ultimately – to the cross demanded much from him, including his very life.

Like Elijah’s encounter with God at the mouth of a cave and Jesus’ hearing God in a garden named Gethsemane, we too can find the peace of God which passes all understanding in moments of sheer silence in our world.

Finding this peace doesn’t require climbing a mountain or isolating ourselves in a garden.

Often, we can find it simply by slowing down, taking a breath, and looking inside.

God dwells with and within us, and there, we’ll find the sheer silence of God’s peace.

Prayer:
Gracious God, grant us inquisitive minds open to your presence, grateful hearts open to your love, and discerning ears open to the sound of your voice in both the chaos and the sheer silence in our lives. Amen.

Matt Rhodes, Lynchburg, VA


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

Finding a Lenten Prayer Connection

Scripture: Ephesians 6:18

Years ago, I felt prompted to focus more on spiritual disciplines during the Lenten season, instead of giving up something, as had been my usual Lenten habit.

I felt the need to enhance my prayer life, recognizing I’d fallen into a rut.

My daily practice of reading Scripture and devotions, followed by prayer, had become routine at times in the busyness of my days.

So, I contemplated discussions on prayer from previous Bible studies I’d participated in, along with aspects of monastic prayer life and ancient prayer patterns that I’d studied while taking seminary classes.

I decided to center my Lenten journey on expanding daily prayers.

Far be it from anything “sacrificed,” I made time out of seemingly already maxed out days of working, caring for my family, and church and community service projects for Jesus.

I wanted and needed to spend more time with Jesus.

That Lenten season, I focused on centering prayer, contemplative prayer, and Collects with my Anglican prayer beads, the monastic practice of Lectio Divina, in addition to my ‘regular’ daily Scripture and devotional readings.

I even tried times of leaving my usual structured prayer patterns for more informal conversations with our Savior.

The outcome was a Lenten journey I won’t forget and one that I recommend.

I am grateful for dedicated time to center more diligently on the One who gave all for us.

Prayer:
Lord, may we stay alert and prayerfully centered on you every day of our lives. Amen.

Julie Erickson, Olathe, KS


A daily Lenten devotional reprinted with permission from The Society of St. Andrew to inspire help sharing nourishing food with neighbors in need. 

Every $1 donated provides more than 40 servings to those in greatest need. A donation of $47 for the 47 days in Lent provides more than 1,880 servings. 

What a way to celebrate the resurrection of hope and lift the cup of salvation for our hungry neighbors! 

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